Spray Varnish?

I’ve been using Gamvar gloss varnish, applying it with a brush.  
I am thinking of trying a spray varnish, but I do like the thick deep look of the gamvar gloss. Any input on using spray varnish would be appreciated, especially if you also have experience with Gamvar gloss.


  • GTO

    No Gamvar exp. Always use spray varnish. Examine painting for dust, pet hair etc. Secure on an easel or frame. Overspray side to side ie reverse direction off the painting. Overlap previous run. I prefer painting to be vertical for spraying, otherwise spray pattern can be blobby. Clear nozzle by inverting can before applying. Use a paint/volatiles rated mask.Three light coats better than one with running drips. Cross direction on sequential coats. Allow say a half hour between coats. Pick a calm evening with no insects around. Leave outside for about twelve hours to vent the volatiles. Good time to give any info on the back a protective cover.

  • Thanks @dencal what brand and type of varnish do you use?
  • edited March 2022

    Yes I have experience with both.

    I didnt find the Gamvar gloss to be very glossy (though a friend told me it was), but im fine with that as the spray I use is.

    Depending on the painting I will choose which is best.

    Windsor & Newton Professional Gloss is the spray I use. I agree with Denis on doing thin coats, its too easy to mistakenly apply too thick, so go sparingly.

    I always find varnishing a bit tricky. There are always things floating in the air that we only notice if a shaft of sunlight is illuminating them.

    Those little blighters, along with the odd tiny hair can miraculously appear during the varnishing process.

    Once varnished I tend to quickly slide the painting into a box, ie if a small piece then a cereal box.

    I tape it up so that anything floating in the air will hopefully not cling to its surface.
  • Thanks @MichaelD for the info.  The box trick seems like a good idea.
  • @GTO do you find areas of variable absorbency or texture that create uneven texture with the gamvar? Have you or others solved it? Does it matter? It seems to be only when you catch it in the light or look very closely.
  • @Abstraction. I have found that whites will resist the varnish.  I’ve only used gamvar gloss, so I don’t know if that will be the case with other varnish or with spared varnish.  I am hoping that sprayed varnish will avoid brush marks and less dust particles.  
  • Ok, I haven't had any brush marks, but the spray will dry more quickly so that will help with dust.
    The last painting I brushed gamvar with it laying on my workbench (horizontal avoids drips) and covered it with a painting board above it
    Interested to hear how you go. I was tempted to use the spray.
  • GTO

    I have W&N gloss varnish and Art Spectrum retouch varnish.
    Have to add that I’m not particular about which brand I buy. Varnish is pretty simple resin and solvent.


  • I always use spray. It's really important to lay the painting flat so that the varnish doesn't run.  And  only apply light sprays so it doesn't pool. You can add further coats if more is needed. I don't think the brand matters. Do it outside on a calm day or the smell will blow your head off.  :)
  • Thanks @tassieguy @dencal and @Abstraction I will try a gloss spray varnish when the weather warms up.  I’ll try covering it with a cardboard box to prevent dust and such getting on it.
  • @dencal. I see there are so many varnishes available.
      There’s grumbacher hyplar.  Not sure what hyplar is.  I guess a resin.  I think it is used only for acrylic paints.  It does contains acetone and heptane. 
    There’s Golden made of polymer and mineral spirits.
      Gamvar is made of synthetic resin.  Gamvar says it can be used sooner than other resins.  ??? But I don’t see any spray version.
    Windsor Newton doesn’t say what it is made of but it does say it has UV protection and is removable.  The Windsor Newton satin brush on varnish instructs you to wait six twelve months before spraying.
    I’m not so sure what spray varnish to use after reading about these.
  • I use Nuart spray varnish.

    It claims to be acid free; fine colourless varnish; use on oil and acrylic paintings; 2 coats for final varnish; can be removed with distilled turpentine if desired.

    I have a gloss can and a matt can.
  • GTO

    Exactly. Product availability and brand changes even from store to store in the same city.
    Yes, there are hundreds of brands to choose from.

    Look for a non-yellowing, gloss, pressure pack that has a removable varnish.


  • Thanks @dencal and @toujours I appreciate your help.
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